“Knitted” fritters from Cod Pal Germ 551, section two

14 A dish of knitted (? gestrickten) fritters

If you would make a knitted fritter of dough, make (a dough) as hard as though for an infidel cake (heidenyschen kuchen – a common fritter) and also make sheets like the infidel sheets and cut it in slices that are rounded (? synbeller) like fingers. Take fat into a pan or in a mortar and set it (by the fire) so that it becomes hot. Take a wooden spoon or piece of wood to pick up the sheets, lay them one across the other and throw them into the pan with the wooden implement. Let them fry and turn them over in the mortar. Make a good sauce (supen) to go with them of honey and good spices and add a little wine and a little vinegar so that it is tasted (piczell) through the honey. Strew a little raisins on them and pour the sauce over the fritters. Then serve it and do not oversalt it.

This recipe, too, has a parallel in section one, and taking the two together helps understand how they may be meant.

24 Make a dish of knitted fritters thus

If you would make knitted fritters (gestrickts pachens) of a dough, make it as hard as (for) infidel (haydenisch) fritters and also make sheets as though for infidel fritters (heydenische pleter) and make cuts that are round (sinibel can mean rounded, circular, or wavy) like a finger. Take fat in a pan or in a mortar and set it (by the fire) that it gets hot and agitated (wellig). Take a wooden stick or spoon and reach for the sheets with that, and lay one each on it and then lay the other across, and throw it into the pan on that wooden stick (use the stick to place in the fat). Let it fry, and turn it around in the mortar. And then make a good sauce (suppen) for it with honey and good spices and add a little wine vinegar so that it ‘bites’ (pitzel) through the honey, and strew a little raisins in. And pour the sauce on the fritters and serve it. Do not oversalt it.

‘Stricken’ in medieval German need not strictly mean knitted, it can also be a reference to other types of knotwork or fiber crafts, or even ropemaking. The intent seems to be creating the impression of something made of threads, interconnected and knotted.

‘Heidnische Kuchen’ were a familiar type of fritter made from a dough that consisted mostly or entirely of eggs and flour rolled out thin and fried in fat. They were also often served with a honey sauce.

I owe thanks to my friend Libby Cripps for pointing me to the as yet untranslated fifteenth-century culinary recipe collection that is bound with similar works on fabric dyes and on medicine in the Heidelberg Cod Pal Germ 551. It looks, at first glance, unexceptional, but I will try to keep up a flow of recipes and see whether it has anything of particular interest to offer.

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